Book Review: Rumble

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Does it get better? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of bullying and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.

Matthew Turner knows it doesn’t get better.

His younger brother Luke was bullied mercilessly after one of Matt’s friends outed Luke to the whole school, and when Luke called Matt—on the brink of suicide—Matt was too wrapped up in his new girlfriend to answer the phone. Now Luke is gone, and Matt’s family is falling apart.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting those he blames off the hook—including himself. As Matt spirals further into bitterness, he risks losing Hayden, the love of his life. But when her father begins to pressure the school board into banning books because of their homosexual content, he begins to wonder if he and Hayden ever had anything in common.

With brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance, bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s Rumble explores bullying and suicide in a story that explores the worth of forgiveness and reconciliation.

I love Ellen Hopkins and have read almost all of her books (I’m just missing one). Therefore I was too ecstatic to see she had a new book coming out.

This novel centers around a guy named Matt who lives in a town filled with people who believe in a God he can’t get behind. Matt has a lot of issues with the idea of religion but the main one would have to be his younger brother, Luke’s, suicide due to bullying from his classmates.

After the loss of his brother Matt struggles to keep it together and holds onto his girlfriend, who does believe in God and (in my opinion) is really annoying, for dear life. He’s also dealing with his hot mess of a family which is falling apart in the wake of Luke’s death. Matt also has to face his own guilt and anger over his brother’s suicide and all in all this guy is going through the struggle right now.

As a Christian myself I felt myself at odds with Matt sometimes during the novel. What’s great about Hopkins writing, however, is I still found myself on Matt’s side. I was rooting for Matt. I wanted him to find the happiness he so desperately craved and more than that I related to him.

Hopkins wrote this novel in the same way she writes all her novels: poetry style. Though it’s a novel she writes it in poems which makes the novel a pretty quick read. I definitely enjoyed this book and recommend it. The character development of Matt is flawless and watching him grow and learn and realize what/who’s really right for him is fantastic.

If you think this novel is just going to be about religion you’re mistaken. Obviously it does play a big role in the novel but the book is also centered about family, love, redemption, forgiveness, and censorship.

I really liked this book and went back to reread parts of it because I thought it was so good. I know I’ll reread the whole thing at some point. If you’ve never read an Ellen Hopkins novel before this would be a good first try (although my favorite is still Identical).

Favorite Line:

There are young people who need books to speak for them. And there are others who need books  to speak to them.

Stars: 5 out of 5. I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure I’d like Matt but there’s more to him than just his disbelief in God. Matt has a lot going on in his life and Hopkins made me really sympathize with him and understand where he’s coming from.

Borrow or Buy: Definitely buy. This is one you’ll want on your book shelf for sure.

Other Reviews

Good Books and Good Wine

San Francisco Book Review

Mission Viejo Library: Teen Voice

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